US-backed Syrian fighters say a “large number” of Islamic State militants and their families are surrendering a day after intense fighting in the last speck of land the extremists still hold in eastern Syria.
At the edge of Baghouz, the village where the militants are still holed up, men, women and children climbed a road that winds along a cliff overlooking what remains of a tent encampment, heading out. Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces said they searched the evacuees as they reached the front lines.
Many of the people carried rolls of blankets and clothes but cast them aside as they made their way up the hill. Women carried babies as children slowly made their way up the rocky terrain. Most of the men appeared to be wounded, with many limping or walking with crutches. The sound of sporadic gunfire echoed off the cliff and US-led coalition planes flew overhead.
SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali says after an intensive offensive Wednesday from multiple fronts, “a large number” of IS militants and their families “started to surrender” early this morning.